The cause of an early morning fire which severely damage a house in Brinker is under investigation by Hopkins County firefighters.
Hopkins County dispatchers at 1:25 a.m. Thursday were contacted by an FM 69 south resident who reported seeing flames in the front of a residence located just off FM 69 on County Road 2336.
Hopkins County sheriff’s deputies and Hopkins County, Brinker and Como firefighters were dispatched to the house. Deputies were the first to arrive, confirming the front of the house was indeed on fire. Those at the location were unsure whether or not the renter was home, but noted that there were no vehicles present.
Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix and Como firefighters were the next to arrive. Como firefighters began attacking the fire. Arbala, Pickton-Pine Forest and Miller Grove firefighters were also requested for additional tanker assistance and manpower.
Hopkins County firefighters soon arrived and went inside to conduct a search of the structure, while authorities attempted to contact the man living at the house, or someone who might know his whereabouts. County firefighters noted there to be numerous boxes of belongings stacked up throughout the house, an indicator the resident was likely in the process of moving out.
Officials finally made contact with someone who stated the man who had been living at the house was in the process of moving and had been staying in Forney, according to Nix.
North Hopkins firefighters were requested at 2:43 a.m. to send a crew on their engine truck to fill in at Hopkins County Fire Station in case any subsequent fires came in while they were battling the house fire. At 2:54 a.m. Miller Grove firefighters were told they could clear from the fire scene, and staged for a short time at the county fire station as well, according to HCFD reports. The next shift due to go on duty at HCFD later Thursday morning, including HCFD Investigator David Dunn, was called at 3:27 a.m. to go in to work early to relieve the volunteers at the county station.
The Greenville branch of the American Red Cross was on hand to assist firefighters, and Hopkins County Emergency Medical Services personnel also were on standby.
While the exterior walls of the single story brick house owned by Billy Houston were still standing, as was most of the roof, the fire was said to have spread into the attic and throughout the house, causing extensive heat and fire damage inside. The heat from the blaze was said to be so intense that one of the firefighters sustained a few minor burns through his protective gear, but will be OK, according to reports.
The fire was out around 4 a.m. Thursday, but firefighters remained at the scene working until after 5 a.m. to ensure it did not rekindle, as well as to conduct the initial investigation.
Nix and Investigator Dunn returned to the house around 9 a.m. Thursday to begin conducting a more thorough investigation at the house. The cause of the fire is said to be “under investigation” and could be “suspicious” in nature.
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